Islamabad : A concert of Sufi/classical music was held at the Turkish embassy in collaboration with the Turkish Maarif Foundation Thursday evening, featuring Shafqat Ali Khan and his team of musicians. The guest list included diplomats - some of whom were going to hear this genre of music for the first time; political entities including Minister of Information, Fawad Chaudhry and local members of the capitals civil society, a few of them music aficionados who know all there is to know about music.
Welcoming the audience, Ambassador Ahsan Mustafa Yurdakul said he thought it was a good time to listen to some Sufi music. Adding that more such events would be organised in future, he concluded by hoping everyone would enjoy the performance and introduced the artiste.
It is customary to start with an alaap, without the support of rhythm and Shafqat followed the rule, stopping every now and again to explain the intricacies of the music and the difference between Western music, which is written and Eastern (subcontinental) music which is learned by heart from generation to generation. Saying a few words about the iconic Hazrat Amir Khusro (a Sufi musician, poet and scholar who also invented classic instruments such as the sitar and tabla) and giving other general information on the different styles of music, he kept the audience interested.
The ‘thumri,’ style was his second choice, during which he also sang a couple of stanzas in the English and Mideastern style of vocalizing, which sounded good and was an interesting twist to the rendition of the composition! He concluded with a ‘kafi’ by Khwaja Ghulam Farid, a 19th-century Punjabi Sufi poet who was a scholar and writer who knew several different languages.